chapter  6
Characterizing life at home
WithWilliam M. Taylor
Pages 23

Characterizing types of residents and reading plans made it possible to describe space using a number of subjective terms. Foreshadowing modern patterns of domestic life, nineteenth-century literature reveals the increasingly common differentiation of domestic spaces and their use in constructing narratives about the individuals who lived in them. The appeal to biology and the natural sciences, physics and chemistry, landmark texts and every day, practical manuals made the Victorian householder and homemaker a scientist of sorts, familiar with nature's elements and forces in some degree. In The Gentleman's House the map of relations between interior and exterior spaces entailed in the book's plans and read with the author's aspect-compass assumes a guise of rationality. Thoughts on comfort, manuals on architecture, gardening and domestic economy with their plans and techniques of reader-identification along with the goal of an ideal style of living confined all residents of the Victorian home within a complex web of obligations.